We know this is a very concerning time for everyone right now, and we are reaching out to provide important information pertinent to LGBTQ workers. Many of you are on the frontlines, doing your best to respond to this outbreak as healthcare workers, airline personnel, educators, firefighters, emergency response personnel, and others. We see and appreciate the work you are doing and thank you for your dedication.
LGBTQ working people are some of the most vulnerable in our society today, and are more likely to contract the coronavirus than the general population. There are many factors that contribute to this, but access to healthcare is a big issue. Fear of discrimination by healthcare providers can prevent LGBTQ people from seeking care, and we are more likely to be uninsured than non-LGBTQ people. In addition, the LGBTQ community has the highest rates of cancer and HIV, which compromise the immune system and can increase the severity of symptoms. LGBTQ people are more than 50% more likely to smoke than cisgender and straight people, and, as COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, smokers are at increased risk for prolonged illness. You can read more information about the risks to the LGBTQ community here, along with finding important tips about ways to prevent infection and help reduce the spread of the disease.
Even before the first US case of coronavirus was diagnosed, Labor has been putting pressure on the Administration to ensure that workers are not subjected to unnecessary risks during this outbreak. The AFL-CIO launched a campaign to require OHSA to pass an Emergency Temporary Standard for health care facilities to implement comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plans. Please take a few minutes to participate.
There is also an AFL-CIO website dedicated to COVID-19, and it contains lots of very useful information for union workers. Our union sisters, brothers and siblings at various internationals are also working overtime to ensure their members and their loved ones are safe.
Our siblings in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community have also seen backlash from the virus as some wrongly and unjustly blame them for the virus. Viruses don’t discriminate and neither should we. Please check out the toolkit provided by our siblings over at APALA to learn more about protecting AAPI working people during this crisis as well.
Many union offices are closed, in DC and around the country, as union staff are teleworking in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus. Following their lead, and that of many LGBTQ organizations, Pride at Work national staff will be working from home until the end of March. That means that we are continuing our work to empower LGBTQ working people, but following the advice of public health officials, we are minimizing our physical contact with others. No in-person trainings or meetings will be held, and we will suspend shipments from our Pride at Work store for the time being.
We can still be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and while we won’t have access to our office phones, we will check messages regularly. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. Reach out to us if you have any questions. We’re all in this together.
The Pride at Work team</>